This year, hundreds of photographers and enthusiasts of the art gathered to witness the biggest photography event out of the FCT. BlueInk caught up with Osaze Efe, the festival director and he gives us an insight on the event’s goals and what to expect in 2019.
What is the Abuja International Photo Festival?
Abuja international photo festival is a platform for photographers across Africa where we get to explore and leverage on the power of photography for social good. We are promoting the idea that beyond events, photography can actually be a tool to communicate truth, value, good governance and the essence of who we are as a people. So we bring people to share thoughts, ideas, learn techniques and the art of visual storytelling in a way that photography can be seen in a different light.
What does photography mean to you?
Photography means a lot to me because it gives me the opportunity to express myself and communicate my truth in a very deep way. We live in a generation where more emphasis is placed on what we see than just what we read. These days, you have to be very good with words in ways that paint pictures or simply use the pictures. For me, it is a strong opportunity for me to put my values and myself out there using the power of pictures. I started photography professionally in 2013 and it has been very interesting.
What is the Abuja International Photo Festival journey?
The festival started in 2017 although the ideas began December, 2016. We had two editions – 2017 and 2018. For the first edition, we had about 350 photographers from across the country but majorly from Abuja. We had the daily statistics taken and at the second edition, we had about 450.
How has the Abuja photography space grown?
The space is still evolving compared to what you have in other states, especially Lagos. We saw this gap and this is part of what the festival is filling. In Abuja, we have clusters of communities across different spaces where you meet photographers. We felt that the entire Abuja community needed to have one place where we all meet annually to share experiences and ideas. From what we have had in the two editions, we seem to he achieving that goal. We actually had every member across all the communities come in to attend the festival and share ideas.
What are the activities at the festival?
Activities in the festival have evolved between the first and the second editions. The first edition had a photo exhibition, masterclasses and photo walk. In 2018, we introduced the town hall sessions and the Sisters’ Art and had bigger versions of the first set of activities. We are building on all these and hope to have the largest photo exhibition in Nigeria where no less than 250 images across various photography genres can be represented.
What gap does the festival fill?
We want to showcase our abilities to tell our stories as Africans. It is also an opportunity for beginners, who are interested in photography, to meet their mentors and idols that they have always looked up to. We have veterans in the industry that people read about on social media, see on TV and hear on radio meet one-on-one with these amateurs. For those already in the art, the festival helps project and promote your work to the international community. Embassies and international partners are collaborating with us to make this work. If you entering the industry, it is an opportunity to meet colleagues that will inspire you and mentors that will put you under their wings and help you fly.
Watch Video Interview here